THE ANTITHETICAL AND SYNTHETICAL STANDPOINTS IN CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT
§ 1 - A SYSTEMATIC PRESENTATION OF THE ANTITHESIS BETWEEN THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE CHRISTIAN AND THAT OF THE VARIOUS TYPES OF THE HUMANISTIC TRANSCENDENTAL GROUND-IDEA
Hyperlinks below are to Dr J. Glenn Friesen's
Hyperlinks below are to Dr J. Glenn Friesen's
______________________________________From the previous part of our inquiry we have seen how the basic antinomy in the transcendental ground-Idea of Humanistic thought develops into polar antitheses within and between the various systems. By continually returning to the common basic structure of this transcendental Idea we have disclosed the deeper unity in the foundations of all Humanistic philosophic thought.
It is now evident that the development of this thought into apparently diametrically opposed systems, in fact, is only the development of an internal dialectic of the same religious ground-motive, namely, that of nature and freedom. The latter determines the general framework of the Humanistic transcendental ground-Idea.
In the final analysis the motive of freedom is the religious root of this basic Idea and (as we have shown in Part II, ch. 1 par. 3) by its ambiguity it evokes the opposite motive of the domination of nature. Before the rise of transcendental philosophy, this root still remained hidden under the primacy of the science-ideal, born out of the ideal of personality.
The transcendental trend in Humanistic philosophy was the first to penetrate to the foundation of the science-ideal, viz. the ideal of sovereign personality. It was not before FICHTE that this foundation was openly recognized, which recognition implied a break with KANT'S dualistic conception of the transcendental Humanistic ground-Idea. However, the immanence-standpoint itself remained the ultimate obstacle in Humanism for a radical transcendental critique of philosophic thought.
In critical self-reflection Humanistic transcendental philosophy does not attain anything higher than the Idea of the sovereign freedom of personality, which it persistently identifies with the religious root of the cosmos. It seeks the transcendent root of reality in particular immanent normative aspects of the cosmos, abstracted and absolutized in its transcendental ground-Idea. It cannot attain the insight that the free personality of man cannot be identified with its moral aesthetic or historical functions.
It is true that in HEGEL the free personality became a dialectical phase in the logical self-unfolding of the all-embracing metaphysical "Idea". But this metaphysical standpoint implied the abandonment of the critical transcendental attitude of Humanistic thought, which FICHTE had preserved, at least in his first period.
In HEGEL'S absolute Idealism, philosophical thought once again became identified with absolute divine thought. Not recognizing any critical limits with respect to belief and religion, it intends to solve the religious antinomy of its ground-motive by a theoretical dialectic. The same must be said of SCHELLING'S "absolute thought".
The preservation of the critical-transcendental standpoint in Humanistic thought implies the rejection of this absolutizing of theoretical dialectic. But in this case FICHTE'S critical moralism seems to be the ultimate degree of critical self-reflection possible in Humanistic immanence-philosophy during its florescence. Therefore, in the last analysis, even in its most profound systems, critical Humanistic transcendental philosophy lacks insight into the final transcendent determination of philosophical thought. Even when it thinks it has made the ego its Archimedean point, it has not focused its vision upon the religious root of personality, as the concentration-point of all temporal existence, but upon an hypostatized function of personal existence.
This is the limit of all immanence philosophy. If the thinker would cross over these boundaries, he would see through its religious root in its apostasy from the true Origin and the full selfhood. This radical religious criticism, however, is only possible from the Biblical transcendence-standpoint. Humanism cannot surpass its own religious starting-point.
From the Humanistic immanence standpoint it is easy to consider the internal dialectic of Humanistic philosophical thought as an innerly necessary polar course of development, originating from the very nature of philosophical theory, as such.
When Christian philosophy accepts this viewpoint and permits Humanism to force its method of thinking and problems upon itself, then it is not surprising that the crucial problem of Christian synthetical philosophy, the conflict between philosophical thought and Christian faith, remains forever insoluble.
Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 1 pp 499-501.